14 June 2006 Characterization of a star/planet simulator for evaluating extrasolar planet detection techniques
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Abstract
Precise testbeds are required to investigate the physics and engineering aspects of suppressing extrasolar starlight sufficiently to discern faint companion planets. In addition, testbeds that can simultaneously produce star and planet stimuli will be necessary ground support equipment for evaluating instruments designed for imaging and characterizing extrasolar planets. Integral to this is the ability to represent the broad spectral bands and relative geometry of stars and planets. We have built upon the Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph (TPF-C) requirements as well as those of programs like Extrasolar Planet Imaging Coronagraph (EPIC) and Eclipse to develop a star/planet simulator (SPS) that, in conjunction with other testbed modules, can facilitate the pursuit of pertinent questions. The star/planet simulator developed has a broadband visible light source that illuminates independently adjustable star and planet sources (angular separation and orientation, relative magnitude). It is capable of providing either collimated or direct imaged light to proposed instruments and can be configured to produce the source stimuli in a vacuum environment. We will describe the physical set-up, measurements, and initial observations as well as the plans for combining with a coronagraphic testbed.
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Stephen E. Kendrick, Christopher Robb, Dennis Ebbets, Paul Atcheson, "Characterization of a star/planet simulator for evaluating extrasolar planet detection techniques", Proc. SPIE 6265, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation I: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter, 62651Q (14 June 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.669065; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.669065
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